Kyrylo Stetsenko

1882-1922, Ukraine

Ukrainian composer, choral conductor and public figure, archpriest of the UAPC. Founder of the UNR Republican Chapel.

Father of the composer and violinist Vadym Stetsenko. Grandfather of the violinist Kyryl Vadymovich Stetsenko.


He was born in Kvitky in a large family of the icon painter Hryhoriy Mykhailovych Stetsenko.

From his father, Kirill received the skills of an artist, and from his mother, Maria Ivanovna Stetsenko, in her maidenhood, Horyanska, a love of music. At the age of 9, the boy got acquainted with musical notation and singing in a choir.

His maternal uncle, Danylo Goryanskyi, a graduate of the Kyiv Theological Academy, noticed Kirill's artistic abilities and helped him enter the bursa at St. Sophia Cathedral and the art school of M. I. Murashko in 1892. From 1897, Kyrylo studied at the Kyiv Theological Seminary and worked as an assistant to the regent of the Michael Monastery, Ivan Apollonov. The monastery had a large library. It was there that the future composer got acquainted with the national choral classics. He studied the theory of singing and music at the spiritual academy from professor of singing Vasyl Petrushevsky, and he studied the theory and harmony of music from his closest friend Serhiy Telezhinsky.

In 1899, Kyrylo Hryhorovych met Mykola Lysenko and traveled around Ukraine with his band as a choir member and assistant conductor. After graduating from the theological seminary in 1903, the composer worked as a music and singing teacher at the Kyiv Church Teacher's School. A year later, he continues his studies at the school of the Kyiv branch of the Russian Musical Society in Yevhen Ryb's class. And after the opening of the music and drama school named after M. Lysenko, he was transferred to the theory and composition class of Hryhoriy Lyubomyrskyi.
"Shevchenko". Cantata for mixed choir with piano accompaniment to words by Kostyantina Malytska, written for the 100th anniversary of the birth of T. Shevchenko. 1914 year.

In 1907, Stetsenko was arrested for participating in underground social activities and transferred to work in Oleksandrivsk-Hrushevskyi. However, with the help of friends, he will soon move to Bila Tserkva, where he works as a singing teacher in the local gymnasium. At this time, his attention is absorbed by pedagogical activities. Under his authorship, school song collections appeared - "Luna", "School Songbook" in 3 parts. At the same time, he is developing a pedagogical system, the goal of which is the gradual mastery of musical literacy in a complex with the skills of solo and choral singing. It is published in the newspaper "Rada", together with Oleksa Kovalenko organizes the music edition "Kobza", cooperates with the magazine "Boyan".

In 1909, Kyrylo Hryhorovych returned to Kyiv. At that time, the composer was closely connected with the theatrical life of the city. The corpses of Trokhym Kolesnychenko and Mykola Sadovskyi are in his field of vision. For collectives, he writes music for performances: "Buvalshchyna", "Courting on Goncharivka" and others.

The lack of a permanent place of work forced the composer to move to Tyvrov in 1910, where he worked as a singing teacher in a local theological school. In the town, Stetsenko writes the cantatas "Unite", "Shevchenko", "Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom", choirs, romances, arrangements of carols and carols. In Tyvrov, he also met Mykola Leontovych and Yakov Stepov. On October 26 (November 8 according to the new style) of 1911, Kyrylo Hryhorovych arrived on business from Tyvrovo in the provincial city of Kamianets-Podilsk and settled in the "Peterburgskiy" hotel.

On October 4 (17), 1911, the teacher of the Tyvriv Theological School, who had completed the theological seminary course, Kyril Stetsenko, was ordained and appointed to the post of priest at the Church of the Ascension of the Cross in the village of Holovo-Rusava, Yampil District, Podil Province (now the northern part of Oleksandrivka Village, Tomashpil District, Vinnytsia Region). His predecessor, priest Simeon Zelenetsky, died on March 7 (20), 1911. On September 5 (18), 1917, Kyril Stetsenko was transferred to the village of Krasnohirka in the same Yampil district, and the priest of Krasnohirka Ilarion Lysetsky took the place of priest in Holovo-Rusav.
During and after the 1st Liberation Competition
The grave of the Ukrainian composer Kyryll Stetsenko in the village Young hog

From 1917, Kyrylo Stetsenko worked in Kyiv in the music department of the Ministry of Education of the Ukrainian People's Republic. During the time of the Ukrainian State, he worked in the music department of "Dniprosoyuz", which was financed by Simon Petlyura, where he was involved in the development of new educational projects, active organizational activities, and took care of the creation of choral groups. He was the founder of the People's Choir, two chapels, on the basis of which the "Dumka" Chapel, the Republican Chapel, later emerged. In June 1919, he was appointed by the government as the chief commissioner for the organization of state musical groups. He conducted the choir during the celebrations on the occasion of the proclamation of the Act of Zluka - "Prayer for Ukraine", "Eternal Revolutionary" and other works were performed. At this time, the creative activity of the composer is increasing. He writes the cantata "I celebrate on Sunday", music for the poem "Haydamaki", a large number of choirs and romances.

In 1920, Kyrylo Stetsenko traveled around Ukraine with the Second Traveling Chapel. The tours lasted from September 8 to November 10 and were very busyeasy because of the unstable situation in the country, but Stetsenko, according to Tychyna's testimony, kept calm and supported the spirit of the chapel: "Under the escarpment, yes under the escarpment - and there we will sing." Returning, he finds the music and choir section liquidated. Only the First Itinerant Chapel of Nestor Horodovenka managed to legalize and settle officially. Forced to take care of the financial support of the family, the composer moves to Veprik, where he receives a parish. In October 1921, he participated in the First All-Ukrainian Church Council, which confirmed the autocephaly of the UAOC. He organizes a village choir and performs with it in the villages of Kyiv region. The composer's last significant work was the opera "Iphigenia in Tauride" based on Lesya Ukrainka's drama of the same name. In the spring of 1922, when epidemics raged in the country, typhus came to Veprik. While giving communion to a sick peasant, Stetsenko fell ill. Not being able to overcome the disease, he died on April 29, 1922 in the prime of his creative powers.
Music-pedagogical activity

A significant place in the creative life of Kyril Stetsenko was occupied by his pedagogical activity. During his lifetime, his surname was mentioned among the surnames of famous music teachers. Despite his short age (39 years old), the artist conducted an active pedagogical practice. Thus, K. Stetsenko's pedagogical ideas were formed under the direct influence of reality. As a teacher, Kyrylo Stetsenko made a significant contribution to the national method of teaching music and singing, he researched the problems of a complete system of music education — from preschools to universities.

During the summer holidays, Kyrylo Stetsenko taught singing at short-term peripheral teachers' courses (in Taraschi, Lubny, Bila Tserkva), which were held with the aim of improving the methodical level of folk singing. In the process of close communication with teachers of folk schools, he understood the specifics and needs of school music education - led to increased attention to the problems of children's musical education.

Stetsenko is most concerned about the musical and aesthetic upbringing of children in elementary school. He believed that for the flourishing of culture and art, it is necessary to prepare scientific researchers of folk creativity, conductors of culture to the broad masses of the people — first of all, through schools. According to Stetsenko, conservatories should train music and singing teachers who would bring culture to the masses, primarily through schools.

Kyrylo Stetsenko set the goal of educating the young generation on the basis of "artistic feelings, the natural desire for beauty as an eternal truth."

He paid special attention to the universal availability and obligation of aesthetic education, the scientific nature of knowledge, the correspondence of didactic material to the age and psychological characteristics of children.

With his creativity and activity, Stetsenko was a continuation of the national direction of Ukrainian music, started by Mykola Lysenko. He preferred choral, vocal-instrumental, operatic genres, music for theatrical performances and arrangements of folk songs. He devoted his whole life to music education. A creatively gifted person with a subtle artistic worldview, Kyrylo Stetsenko occupied a special place in the history of Ukrainian music as a composer who summed up the achievements of his predecessors and opened new ways of developing the musical art of Ukraine in the post-October period.

The peculiar beauty of the musical expression in combination with techniques and techniques characteristic of composers of the new generation of the 20th century was the use of folk song motifs, which were not fixed by quotations, but were woven into the canvas of his works in an original, authorial way. In the first arrangements of folk songs, published in the repertoire collection for family and school "Luna", together with highly artistic arrangements of M. Lysenko, Oleksandr Koshyts and Mykola Leontovych, the features of Kyril Hryhorovych's individual style were already clearly outlined.

During various periods of his life, the composer's output was replenished with works of a patriotic and exalted nature based on the intonation of revolutionary songs (chorals "Testament" to the words of T. Shevchenko, "Dream" to the poems of P. Grabovsky), he sought to reproduce them in cantatas and choral poems of important events from people's life (cantata "Let's Unite" based on I. Franko's poem, poem "Early in the Morning Recruits" based on T. Shevchenko's poem)

An important place in his work is occupied by solo songs (more than 30) based on the words of Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, Oleksandr Oles and others. Stetsenko's multifaceted choral music: church works (two liturgies, a memorial service), cantatas, choirs ("Everything Lived", "Spring-Spring", "It Was a Quiet Night" and others), a cappella and with piano accompaniment, arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs . Music for plays ("Courting on Goncharivka" by Hryhoriy Kvitka-Osnovyanenko, "What sawdust rustled about..." by Spiridon Cherkasenko, "Buvalshchyna" by A. Velisovskyi), operas (unfinished "Polonyanka", "Carmelyuk"), dramatic scene "Iphigenia in Taurida" based on Lesya Ukrainka's drama, music to T. Shevchenko's poem "Haydamaki", children's operas ("Ivasyk-Telesyk", "The Fox, the Cat and the Rooster"). Stetsenko is the author of school hymns. The composer gained public recognition as an author of church music. His highest achievements of the warthe "Liturgy of St. John the Chrysostom", "All Night" and "Requiem", dedicated to the memory of M. Lysenko, are celebrated.

Kyrylo Stetsenko made his way from a gymnasium teacher and regent of a theological seminary choir to a priest. But no matter what position he held, he always brought to people an understanding of beauty and goodness - what true art gives.

Grace of peace
Let's unite
Early morning recruits
Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
I celebrate on Sunday

Recordings of Kyryll Stetsenko's works

The album of Pavlo Hunka's project "Ukrainian art songs"
"Kyrylo Stetsenko" / (Kyrylo Stetsenko, 2 CDs, 42 works).

Musical film "Kyrylo Stetsenko. The Mercy of Peace" 2023. The project implemented by the Ivano-Frankivsk regional branch of the National All-Ukrainian Music Union together with the "Resurrection" chamber choir for the 140th anniversary of the composer's birth.
Fund in the Center of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences

The personal fund of Kyril Stetsenko in the Central State Archive-Museum of Literature and Art of Ukraine contains the composer's autographs and author's corrections, correspondence, biographical documents, photographs, etc.

The minutes of the meeting of the expert and evaluation commission of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian SSR from July 3, 1968 contain a message from the archive-museum employee L. K. Zabarilo:

The son of the composer K. G. Stetsenko, Vadim Kyrylovych Stetsenko, offered to buy his father's materials: sheet music manuscripts (printed and unprinted) - 106 sheets; 19 old very interesting photographs, a note from Stetsenko, 3 letters from Kozytskyi, printed sheet music.

The documents, valued at 450 rubles, were handed over to the CDAMLM by the composer's children, Vadim and Anastasia. Until 1973, the family of K. G. Stetsenko donated several other documents and publications to the archive-museum, which supplemented the collection.

In 1977, "School Songbook" (1918) together with the report "Ukrainian Song in a Folk School" (1917) were removed from the main fund and transferred to secret storage, and in 1990 these works of the composer were returned to general storage.

In September 2014, part of the documents from the fund were presented within the framework of the virtual project of the Ukrainian Center for Social and Cultural Affairs "ARCHIVE IMPORTANT CASE".

Postal stamp of Ukraine, 2007

There are memorial museums in the composer's homeland in the village of Kvitky and in the village of Vepryk, where he is buried (see Memorial Museum of K. G. Stetsenko in Kvitky, Memorial Museum of K. G. Stetsenko in Vepryk). In several cities of Ukraine, including Kyiv and Lviv, streets are named after him.

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